Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Research, research, research!

After reading an editor's blog post about fiction writers needing to do enough research to make the settings and characters in their stories ring true, I went back and did a little more for my work in progress, Noah's Ark, that will go to Barbour's Heartsong Presents bookclub members in October 2009. Some of the information wasn't clear online, so I called Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and spoke to Byron Clercx, the chairman of the Department of Art and Design, to get more specific answers. What a nice man! He not only answered my questions as they pertained to my story, he gave me more information about the area. Now I have the strongest urge to write more books set in Huntington! From what I've read and heard, not only is it a gorgeous place, the strong sense of community lends itself to what I write—Christian fiction.

Something I've learned is that most people love to help writers, as long as they have a passion for their subject. Over the past twenty years, I've interviewed hundreds of people, and with only a small handful of exceptions, they've told me way more than I requested, making the experience even richer than anything I could have hoped for.

My Summerside Press book, Love Finds You In Treasure Island, Florida, is another example. Jeff Jensen who works for the city in a community relations capacity gave me enough information to add scenes I'd never even thought of. Then I called Captain Kosmakos, a favorite restaurant in the area, to find out what was on their menu. By the time I got off the phone with Phyllis Kelly, I was dying for some of their fabulous, mouthwatering seafood.

If you're a writer, what experiences have you had with interviews? Have they been good, bad, or neutral? Have you been rewarded with more than you ever expected?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Focus on prayer!

Things don’t always go our way. From sports to national elections, someone will be happy and others will be disappointed. We know going in that not everyone can win.

I watched the Tampa Bay Rays win the American League championship then lose the World Series. My first reaction was to think they’ve come so far then lost. But really, what did they lose? After years of being in last place, wasn't it a dream come true to even play in the World Series? The fact that they made it there shows that they’re winners! I think the Tampa Bay Rays came through with an awesome season, and they made all of us proud here on the Suncoast of Florida.

Then there was the presidential election. In this great country of ours, we’re allowed to disagree—with each other, with the government, and with the status quo. If enough people feel the same way about something, we have the power to change things. And that’s what happened yesterday. Although the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped for, I do plan to pray for the leaders who have been elected into office. The United States of America is still the greatest country in the world, and I’ll continue to stand by that.

Like I said, things don’t always go our way. This is the time when we need to take stock of our relationship with God and pray for the leadership that our great country needs in this difficult time.